Letters to Achille Chaper: Intimate Sketches of Life among Stendhal's Coterie

Letters to Achille Chaper: Intimate Sketches of Life among Stendhal's Coterie

Letters to Achille Chaper: Intimate Sketches of Life among Stendhal's Coterie

Letters to Achille Chaper: Intimate Sketches of Life among Stendhal's Coterie

Excerpt

In the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, the following inscription appears on a black marble plaque placed on a burial vault in the Galerie de Zoologie:

VICTOR

JACQUEMONT

VOYAGEUR DU MUSÉUM D'HISTOIRE NATURELLE NÉ À PARIS LE 8 AOÛT 1801

MORT À BOMBAY LE 7 DÉCEMBRE 1832

SES RESTES EXHUMÉS A BOMBAY LE 23 FÉVRIER 1881

APPORTÉS AU MUSÉUM LE 26 AVRIL 1881

ONT ÉTÉ DÉPOSÉS DANS CE CAVEAU LE 29 NOVEMBRE 1893

One of the few French natural scientists whom the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle has honored by placing his remains in the historic old Jardin des Plantes, Victor Jacquemont occupies an important, if not outstanding, place in the history of science because of his discoveries in botany, geology, and mineralogy. Furthermore, admirers of Stendhal and Prosper Mérimée will recognize his name at once. A friend of both writers, Victor Jacquemont achieved a certain posthumous literary fame himself, primarily because of his letters.

Jacquemont's brief life was replete with adventures of the most extraordinary kind. His father, Venceslas Jacquemont, had been a priest before the Revolution and, afterwards, had served in various governmental posts, primarily those concerned with education. An idéologue like his friend Destutt de Tracy and a member of the Institut, Venceslas Jacquemont formed part of the most distinguished intellectual circle of his time. Because of his liberal political views and a suspicion that he was engaging in a conspiracy, Napoleon had imprisoned him for a year in 1808. Victor's visits to his father during this period aroused an intense, lifelong hatred of Napoleon in the boy. The cultivated and learned atmosphere into which the son was born encouraged the . . .

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